Mason Crane bails out (@CricketAus)
White bread, brown bread, sourdough, rye or ciabatta? Faced with an unexpected question after reaching the head of a long, long queue, Mason Crane would not be rushed into a rash decision, you feel. Everyone can wait.
As dozens of pairs of frustrated eyes tried to bore holes in the back of his neck in the hope of somehow rupturing a major artery, Crane would calmly mull his decision over. Bread decisions matter. You have to get them right.
Similarly, if Crane doesn’t want to bowl the ball, then he’s not going to. And you can’t make him.
Some bowlers develop a fear of letting go of the ball, but Crane’s recurrent aborts instead smack of his having the bravery to hold onto it.
Even if 50,000 people are going to be pissed off with him, Crane’s not releasing the thing if he doesn’t feel like his body’s in sync. He’s going to cling onto that ball, do a go-around and try and ensure he comes in at the right trajectory on his next attempt.
And if that doesn’t happen? Well, shut your faces, because he’s going to do exactly the same thing again.
We rather like this. It’s kind of, ‘what I want to do is more important than what you want me to do’.
No-one got anywhere in life by paying any attention to other people. We’re pretty sure of that.
Mason Crane (BT Sport)
We don’t believe you can draw meaningful conclusions from players’ debuts – but we report on them anyway.
Bowling on the second day with the pitch most likely at its flattest, Mason Crane spun the ball hard enough that it drifted, landed most of his deliveries in pretty much the right place and created the odd half-chance. Pretty good.
The great thing about playing a leg-spinner is that as a fan, they are ever-graspable straws. There’s no guarantee that a leg-spinner will take a wicket, but unlike fast-medium bowlers, there’s never a guarantee that they won’t either. There are times when you’re glad of that.
At the age of 20, Crane has several England leg-spinner career phases to look forward to. The next one will probably be ‘omission because conditions don’t suit’ followed by ‘omission on grounds of economy rate’ or possibly ‘omission due to inability to offer something with the bat’.
There will also be brief moments when he’s considered a saviour before he’s finally discarded for good at 26 – the age at which his mentor, Stuart MacGill, took the first of his 208 Test wickets.
Adil Rashid had to wait until he was 29 to be dumped from the Test team because he made a later start.
Mark Stoneman (via Surrey Twitter)
We’ve done this one already. Mark Stoneman has finally turned up in an England squad about a month after we expected him to. He’s a patient man though – the oldest something-or-other to maybe do something, according to a piece we read earlier.
We’ve covered Mason Crane too, so you’ve no excuse for not being ahead of the game on this one too. In contrast to Stoneman, he will be the youngest something-something who might be about to something. Probably.
We haven’t actually read anything about Crane’s call-up yet, but he is very young, so it seems safe to assume that he can lay claim to at least one ‘youngest to…’ type thing. Youngest double-surnamed leg-spinner to carry the drinks for England, say.
Poor Adil Rashid. He appears to have been deemed too flakey for Test cricket.
Also, Chris Woakes’s back! As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything.
Despite his name, Mason Crane is not some kind of specialist stoneworking construction vehicle. No, HE IS A DESTRUCTION… person.
Crane is a 20-year-old leg-spinner who boasts the customary English leg-spinner’s first-class bowling average of 39. Things have changed over the winter though and from now on you’re going to start noticing everyone going mental about him.
This post gives you the opportunity to get in early. Forewarned, you can be ahead of the game and deploy your jaded cynicism from the outset.
Crane went to Australia this winter and hung out with Stuart MacGill. He played grade cricket, took three seven-wicket hauls on the bounce and was picked by New South Wales. He took 2-50 and 3-66 for them.
After that, he headed to the UAE for the North v South series. In the third match, he ripped out the North’s three, four, five and six in a spell of 4-1, which you can see highlights of here.
Pitches vary, but the drift hints that he is – in standard cricket parlance – giving it a rip, which can only be a good thing.
Having hopped straight over the bandwagon, our current position is that leg-spinners are never really fit for purpose at the age of 20, but Crane appears to have made rapid progress over the winter and we’re keen to see him do well this coming season.
We may remount the bandwagon at some point further down the line, so we’re just going to leave today’s article behind as a marker to prove that we’ve already been aboard.